Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, Michigan

Even on a Sunday with temperatures hovering just over 50 degrees, volunteers are hard at work improving the playground area in Longway Park. Local volunteers who include a city councilman, a local business owner, and several neighborhood residents, are all members of the Potter Longway Neighborhood Association which proudly participates in KGCB’s Adopt A Park program. Using funds from KGCB’s Lowe’s Community Improvement grant, playgrounds, benches and pavilions in parks throughout Flint are being painted, repaired and improved. If temperatures are too low for painting (50 degrees or lower) volunteers are still in the parks scraping, laying safety mulch, replacing wood on benches and bleachers, and whatever other tasks need to be done. Fall weather is unpredictable in Michigan, but what’s for certain is our volunteers are heating things up thanks to KAB and the Lowe’s Community Improvement program.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, MI

Keep Genesee County Beautiful’s volunteer activity is attracting even more volunteers. Each day as they continue their painting and improvements in Sarginson Park, the Adopt a Park sponsors from West Flint Community Watch are being approached by neighborhood residents who want to join in and help complete the process.

Mary Severn, who co-chairs the Sarginson Park adoption team, was approached today while buying coffee and donuts for the hard-working volunteers in the park. A gentleman in line behind her asked a few questions and decided he wanted to volunteer as well. Whenever there are even two or three people interested in heading over to do some painting, Mary is willing to get them started with supplies and little direction. Scraping and painting begin at Delaware and Longway parks on September 13-14. Here’s to the volunteer spirit!

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Michigan

Thanks to our KAB/Lowe’s Community Improvement Grant Keep Genesee County Beautiful continues to work with volunteers in its Adopt a Park program to prep and paint aged playground equipment, pavilions and benches. The local Lowe’s team came out again Saturday for a second Prep and Painting Training session at Mott Park. Tracy from Lowe’s Flint Township store displays the paint color palette being used while discussing how to prepare metal for effective paint coverage.

Fifteen volunteers were present for the training and then continued to work tirelessly on scraping and painting the entire playground area. The next step will be to measure, cut, drill and install new wood for benches and picnic tables with more help from the Lowe’s team.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, Flint, Michigan

The scraping and prepping is complete and painting has begun at Sarginson Park. Devin Shroeder from the Lowe’s store in Burton, Michigan  stopped by to answer questions and encourage the volunteers from the West Flint Community Watch as they started the multi-day painting process. Just a week earlier, 18 community volunteers came out to finish scraping and prepping the park’s pavilion, benches, safety rails and playground equipment. This Saturday, the local Lowe’s team will conduct its second Scrape, Prep and Paint Training session at Mott Park where volunteers will spend the day applying what they learn.

Keep Genesee County Beautiful, MI

The first Scrape, Prep and Paint Training by local Lowe’s employees took place in Sarginson Park. Volunteers learned how to prepare metal, wood and concrete for painting and staining. Volunteers were split into two groups to learn and have “hands on” experience in scraping old paint off of a city park pavilion, benches and concrete. Volunteer Adopt a Park representatives from 10 different City of Flint parks were on hand. The Lowe’s/KAB grant provided all of the materials that volunteers will use to prep and paint playground equipment, benches, pavilions and other similar items in their own local parks. The next step is for each park to provide their own Scrape and Prep date and start the improvement process in their own parks.

Keep Akron Beautiful, Akron OH

On July 29, 2014, the staff of Keep Akron Beautiful and the Lowe’s heroes came together to improve and restore Firestone Stadium, home of the Akron Racers, in Akron Ohio. The project was being completed before the Gay Games 9 (GG9) comes to Akron for the softball tournament. The softball tournament is one of the largest events in the 2014 GG9 games.

Firestone Stadium had a wish list of repairs that Racers’ Owner/GM, Joey Arrietta, wanted done before the Gay Games, and the Fairlawn Lowe’s heroes tackled the last of those projects. Some of the repairs on Joey’s list included scraping and painting the entryways to the stadium, putting a clear water-resistant sealant on the lower seating areas, and fixing up planting beds at the entrances to the stadium.

Fairlawn Lowe’s Store Manager, Gary Sutor, was more than eager to get the day started as were the other eleven of Gary’s employees who volunteered their time on July 29th. Each volunteer was assigned different tasks to match their abilities. The volunteers were happy to help make the improvements for not only the Gay Games but for the Akron Racers as well. One employee stated that he enjoyed volunteering as many of the Lowe’s employees live in Akron and are happy to give back to the community. This is the second year that Lowe’s has worked with Keep Akron Beautiful on a beautification and community restoration project.

Keep Sevier Beautiful, TN

As part of our Good Earth Community Gardens, Keep Sevier Beautiful offered free public education gardening classes throughout the year. The classes covered topics from plants, bulb & seed selection; composting; winter gardening; pest and weed management and ended with a lesson on a live demonstration of farm to table.

To offer the Farm to Table Class, KSB partnered with the Walters State Community College. Chef Joe Cairns, shared valuable tips on how to prepare fresh vegetables from gardens. Throughout the presentation, Chef Joe made Rosemary Lemonade, Agua Fresca, Roasted Corn Salsa, Grilled Vegetable Salad and Watermelon Arugula Feta Cheese Salad for the crowd to sample and see how quickly a full meal can be prepared fresh from your garden!

All the classes throughout the year in addition to the community gardens were funded through a partnership with Lowe’s. Not only did they fund the gardens and the classes, but Lowe’s Heroes help build the garden beds!

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful (Indianapolis, IN)

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful, Inc. (KIB) believes everyone should be given the opportunity to experience nature close to home. Turning vacant lots into beautiful parks allows neighbors to take pride in their community. Last year, KIB received a grant from the Lowe’s/KAB Community Improvement Grant program, to transform a vacant lot into a pocket park in the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood of Indianapolis, a neighborhood area sorely lacking greenspace and its benefits.

This project combined the efforts of neighbors from five streets partnering with Southeast Neighborhood Development (SEND), the Bates-Hendricks Neighborhood Association and neighborhood businesses. Bates-Hendricks leaders are committed to neighborhood renewal and to this end they launched an effort called Building Blocks.

The neighbors of Building Blocks envisioned the transformation of four adjacent vacant lots in their neighborhood into a community greenspace. They applied to KIB’s IPL Project Greenspace program, and were chosen to receive a pocket park, featuring shade and understory trees, low-maintenance landscaping and native plants, a shelter, and a designated open space for recreation.

One creative aspect of the landscaping was reusing several extremely large concrete pads that we excavated from the site’s “past life” as a utility station: these were simply too large to remove! We kept these as distinctive boundary markers on one side of the park, as a reminder of the transformation.

Community greening is one way to help empower people. With the success of this project, KIB has engaged families through greening projects, building stronger bonds with their neighbors and contributing to the vitality of their community. We look forward to working with this engaged neighborhood in the future!